Gender, Sexuality & Literature

ENG 382: Gender, Sexuality & Literature – Writing the Queer & Trans Self


This class will read queer and trans memoirs, autobiographical fiction, personal essays, and other forms of self-writing from the last 50 years. We’ll focus on texts that blur the line between fiction and nonfiction, and think about how queerness and transness put pressure on conventional forms and genres. How do queer and trans writers use experimental, speculative, and imaginative forms to write queer and trans stories? What is the queer or trans self, and how is that self constructed? We’ll focus on the complex and ever-changing relationships between gender identity, sexuality, and desire, as well as on the ways gender and sexuality are racialized.


Assignments will include weekly short responses, close-reading based analytical essays, and the option to experiment with autobiographical writing.


Readings may include:

Audre Lorde, Zami (1982)

Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues (1993)

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2006)

Janet Mock, Redefining Realness (2014)

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (2015)

Kai Cheng Thom, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars (2016)

Andrea Long Chu, “On Liking Women” (2018)

Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater (2018)

Joshua Whitehead, Jonny Appleseed (2018)

Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House (2019)


Delivery format: face to face